Surprise hero’s welcome for Waterford native

December 15, 2017 12:09 AM

WATERFORD -- The feeling of receiving a hero’s welcome is hard for Private First Class Ryan Brisson to put into words. 

“Wow,” Brisson said. 

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After months away at Fort Campbell in Kentucky where he is stationed and lives with his wife, Brisson arrived home to Waterford Thursday with the community cheering him on. 

Firefighters and police escorted him through town under the American flag. 

“Yea it's pretty cool,” Brisson said. “I never thought it would happen.” 

At just 25-years-old, Brisson is a recent recipient of the Soldier’s Medal for helping to rescue crew members in a crashed helicopter at Fort Campbell.

It is the army's highest award for valor in peacetime, and a big deal for Brisson who has only been serving a little over a year. 

“Yea I just kind of ran there,” Brisson said. “My brother used to be in the army and I'm like If he was stuck in a helicopter I'd want someone to get him out.”

Brisson and his brother both served at the base together at one point. 

Their mother, Tracy Savoie, was not happy about her boys being in harm’s way at first. 

“I fought it from day one,” Savoie said. “I'm a mom I did not want him to do it.” 

But Brisson's bravery is no surprise to her or the Waterford community. 
“They are not shocked that he put his own life at risk for someone else,” Savoie said.

That's why Waterford councilman and veteran Frank McClement came up with the idea for the celebration. 

“To let him know that it wasn't missed on the community,” said McClement, who is also the Director of the Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency. “That what he's done is important to us and that we're glad that he's safe and that he's home to spend the holidays with his family.” 

He tried his best to keep Brisson from learning about the surprise.

“I thought someone posted something on Facebook that I seen so, can't really hide anything nowadays,” Brisson said.   


Nia Hamm

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